P47Pilots.com is dedicated to preserving the memories of the men and women who flew the P-47 Thunderbolt "Jug" in World War II. P47Pilots.com has evolved over the years from a simple brochure site to a rich and dynamic resource of stories, information, and interaction. P47Pilots.com is a living memorial which will continue to grow for years to come.
I became involved with the P-47 Thunderbolt Pilots Association in the fall of 2001. My sister was working closely with the Association at the time and asked me for some ideas for the website. I met with John Rutherford, an officer in the Association and a WWII P47 Pilot and POW. He told me about the Association, shared a few war stories, and explained his vision for preserving these memories for generations to come. It was a life-changing event for me. I'm not a history buff, but I immediately saw the value and importance of his vision. I certainly was signing on for an exciting project.
The P-47 Thunderbolt Pilots Association disbanded in 2006. By this time, P47Pilots.com had become my favorite project. The Association planned to just "turn off" the website. My heart sank at the thought of losing this resource! I volunteered to leverage the capabilities of my company, Logic Mountain, to perpetuate the P47Pilots.com website (we maintain Internet servers and offer web hosting.) Association officer Al Rifino championed the cause with the committee, and the site was placed in my care. The folks on the P47 Thunderbolt Pilots Association board were thrilled to have a "young" person so enthusiastic and interested in the history (ha - I'm 37 yrs old, I don't feel very young!) So, I unwittingly became a historian for the P47 Thunderbolt.
But my job isn't done here. My vision for P47Pilots.com is to continually to expand this archive and make it bigger, richer, and better. My goal is to have as much information as possible on every pilot that ever flew the Jug. P47Pilots.com will feature many different archives of information, from photos to stories to memoirs and more. I plan to grow this resource as long as new information is available. We continue to encourage Jug pilots and their families to share their memories here so that their sacrifice will be remembered. Every day, another little bit of history lost forever, forgotten in old shoeboxes and stored away in the attics and cellars. We want to salvage these memories while they still have context, before the stories that surround them fade in your memories.
We want the world to remember.
If you have stories, photos, or artifacts surrounding the P47 and her pilots to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the P47 Thunderbolt Pilots Association
Before they disbanded, the P-47 Thunderbolt Pilots Association was made up of people who flew the airplane prior to 1956, when it was taken out of Air Force service. The organization was formed after Republic Aircraft, who built the P-47s, hosted a reunion for 873 pilots in May, 1961 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first Thunderbolt flight in May, 1941.
The purpose of the organization was to venerate and perpetuate the memory of the P-47 and it's pilots. It served to continue the comradeship of the pilots who flew the Thunderbolt, the most successful bomber of World War II. In pure essence, the Association represented a love affair between an airplane and those who flew it. The Association published a Jug letter quarterly and held an annual reunion in a different city in the U.S.A. Reunions have also been held in London and twice in Paris.
Membership in the Association was limited to those who flew the Jug (its long time affectionate nick-name) prior to 1956. The members were made up of combat pilots and Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). The Association published several books and videos about the airplane and its pilots.